Travelling with a baby
This week we were delighted to be invited to a fun packed VIP afternoon Southbank with kids or without and dedicated to #Southbankdreams.
We wrote about Southbank quite a bit before, the neighbourhood is filled with great cultural pursuits and public attractions, from sweeping panoramas from the London Eye, paradigm-challenging performances at the National Theatre or South Bank Centre, riverside gathering spaces, wry street art and skateboard-friendly underpasses. It makes a perfect outing when sun is out, but there’s so much more to it.
Cool engaging material for grownups or families with kids over 2.5 years weather regardless at Southbank Centre, Sea life Aquarium or House of Vans. This very year we featured the Moomins part of the Nordic matters – it’s been now extended to August 20th. Our Scandi friends took our advice and tested with their kids between 4- 8 years old – cool stuff they all said.
We started our trip river cruising – such a pleasant way for sightseeing London landmarks. Ideal for a sunny day but also feasible on rainy or grey one – there’s a certain poetry and impressionism charm as consolation for the wet days.
As VIP cruisers we got our pics with the captain and at length talking about the bridges, city architecture, the Parliament and so on. Special City cruises deal for families from Bankside pier, online offer hop-on hop-off 24hour Riverpass from £10 adult and £5 child.
Next door there’s the Aquarium, which makes a perfect visit for kids as little as 2 years old. We’ve been very privileged to be invited for a back staged tour, including feeding the stingrays and huge turtles. Slimey little fish and squid, locally sourced and fed by the kids – very exciting! Me as a diver I am still rather reluctant to admire sharks, rays and turtles in the Aquarium, but have to admit the London ones look chilled and rather happy. The kids were thrilled and ecstatic about the sharks – mine played quite a bit around and next to the cage.
Jellyfish were next, fascinating all of us how they change colours and float so graciously.
We wrapped up the visit to the Aquarium through another backstage exit and glorious icecream. To celebrate the summer days and London, Southbank team came up with the most brilliantly customised flavours and toppings. I had the London sunrise with strawberry coulis – this one is dedicated to London eye. Tiny capsules popping in your mouth and amazing flavours – must say I’d love to get this as a regular treat. My fellow blogger Wandermum had the Charcoaled flavoured one, dedicated to London Dungeon. Her eldest daughter and my eldest son went for the beautiful blue Mint, dedicated to the SeaLife.
The icecream van is just next door to London Eye and Aquarium and I do admit I am objecting to such wonderful customised icecreams available just on 2 other days this year. So grab yours on August 1st and 2nd complimentary to London Big Ticket ! No cash purchasing available, so I am afraid I am soo sold that I am warmly recommending getting the whole family on London Eye, Aquarium, Dungeon, cruising, Big Busses, Shrek and Madame Tussauds so on for the sake of these flavours!
Re-energised, re-freshed and showered (very temperamental summer weather I am afraid!), we headed to the House of Vans through some serious graffiti and cool tunnels.
Skateboarding is so embedded in this neighbourhood, it’s freedom, liberation from the corporate paradoxes, being rebel and forever young in spirit.
The House of Vans is where “Off The Wall” lives and where imagination lets loose over concrete bowls, art installations, workshops and concert stages. Located in Brooklyn, New York and Waterloo, London, as well as pop-ups around the world, the House of Vans is home to cool & creativity. We need to get back for 1:1 on Saturday with my eldest – his early enthusiasm faded after some wobbly experiences and instructor dedicated time to our fellow journalists and kids. He managed a couple of rides similar to the scooter and right at the end some good assisted ones. We are both sold and definitely going back, trainers for me as well for the next occasion!
The evening ended brilliantly at Mondrian – with cocktails and lovely ladies talking us through the hotel, the bars, the achievements. Being so in love for so many years with its sibling in Noho – Sanderson, Mondrian just charmed us instantly. It’s funky and designery without being cluttered, pretentious or stark. The nautical theme and UK-US references are everywhere, Warhol like arty objects and secluded corners. The Dandylyan bar recently got awarded best 2017 cocktail bar and I do confess the botanical concoctions were sublime.
Luckily at this point my other half chipped in to run around a super excited monkey – after in his little 4 years old of experience you do not get invited so often to such VIP bespoke afternoons. R inspected curiously the ships, had a juice, a crunchy apple, admired some more the river and the boats – a lot of mayhem and mischief towards the end.
We went back child-free and with friends to Rumpus rooftop sibling – great fun, superb cocktails and very cool rooftop views. Southbank with kids or without is so much fun!